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sunnyskies12's Profile

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What is your favorite cookbook of all time?

I have been cooking through my 6 cookbooks and 12 magazines (Cook's Country & Cook's Illustrated) for a while, just trying to focus on those ones because I hope to make every single recipe from all of them someday! I'm over half way through and it's been about 5 years. I also have printed about another 500 or so online recipes, too, mostly from the same company (CC & CI) so that's slowing me down but in a very delicious way. Anyways, a very long-winded way to say that if I had to rate my cookbooks in order of my favorites, they would be:

1. America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
2. King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking
3. Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream & Dessert Book - have made every recipe but one!
4. The Mixer Bible, 1st ed., some REALLY amazing recipes and some real bad ones in there hehe
5. Cooking for Two 2009 - really a great introduction to cooking miniature versions of things, but I can just modify any recipe now so I don't really need this anymore
6. Barefoot in Paris (Ina Garten), not bad but just kinda small, and it turns out I don't like most of the desserts, maybe I just don't like French desserts as much as American ones.

It was a lot of fun for me to think about so thank-you!

1 day ago
sunnyskies12 in Home Cooking

In Search of the best old fashioned Southern Caramel Cake Recipe

I love the Easy Caramel Cake from Cook's Country. They make the yellow cake with all-purpose flour instead of cake flour for more structure, and use buttermilk instead of milk to cut the sweetness (a smidge), so I just substituted my favorite yellow cake recipe which is the Fluffy Yellow Layer Cake from Cook's Illustrated. Anyway, the frosting on the former - almost like a shellac or ganache? - was really good.

Good luck to you!

Aug 24, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Home Cooking

What to do with Szechuan peppercorns?

My favorite recipe for them is from Cook's Illustrated, for Stir-Fried Sichuan-Style Shrimp with Zucchini, Red Bell Pepper, and Peanuts. I've made it five times and it is my husband's favorite stir-fry recipe. Plenty of flavor and plenty of spice! I also like the Teriyaki Stir-Fried Beef with Green Beans and Shiitakes recipe from Cooking for Two 2009, which I can't cut and paste here, but maybe your library has the cookbook? Anyway, here is the first recipe:

Stir-Fried Sichuan-Style Shrimp with Zucchini, Red Bell Pepper, and Peanuts

Serves 4

This recipe is spicy. If you can find a Chinese long pepper, use it in place of the jalapeño. Broad bean chili paste is also referred to as chili bean sauce or horse bean chili paste. If you can’t find it, increase the amount of Asian chili-garlic sauce by 1 teaspoon. Serve this stir-fry with steamed white rice.


2 medium garlic cloves, 1 minced or pressed through garlic press, 1 thinly sliced
1 pound extra-large (21-25) shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon broad bean chili paste (see note)
1 tablespoon Asian chili-garlic sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry or Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon white vinegar or Chinese black vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons Chinese hot chili oil or toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and ground (optional)
1 jalapeño chile, halved, ribs and seeds removed, and sliced thinly on bias (see note)
1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
1 small zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch dice (2 cups)
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch dice
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves


1. Combine minced garlic with shrimp, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, and salt in medium bowl. Let shrimp marinate at room temperature 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk chili paste, chili-garlic sauce, soy sauce, sherry, vinegar, sugar, chili oil, cornstarch, and peppercorns in small bowl. Combine sliced garlic with jalapeño and peanuts in second small bowl.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add zucchini and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until zucchini is tender and well browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer vegetables to medium bowl.

4. Add remaining tablespoon oil to now-empty skillet and heat until just smoking. Add garlic-jalapeno-peanut mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until just beginning to brown, about 30 seconds. Add shrimp, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring frequently, until shrimp are light pink on both sides, 1 to 1½ minutes. Whisk soy sauce mixture to recombine and add to skillet; return to high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and shrimp are cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Return vegetables to skillet, add cilantro, toss to combine, and serve.

Aug 18, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Home Cooking

Any foolproof way to roast chestnuts ...?

I read in Cook's Illustrated magazine (1995): "To use fresh chestnuts, place the nuts in a saucepan, cover them with boiling water, and simmer them for twenty to thirty minutes. Alternatively, roast them in a 425-degree oven for twenty to twenty-five minutes until tender. Peel both the shell and the thin skin from the meat when they are cool enough to handle."

I also heard them talking about this on America's Test Kitchen Radio (December 2014). Chris & Bridget said that they slit the shell most of the way around, and use a moderate oven (300-325) for 30-45 minutes until they start to pop open a little bit, and then get the shells off with a hot towel before they cool down. The key is to use a good knife and find that place for it to pop open. "A lot of people do that X on the chestnut and I've never found that that works very well." If you give it a fissure point all the way around, a point that it can pop open, it can be a lot easier to grab the chestnuts with a couple of towels, hold them, and peel them away. And you're always going to have a few that just do not want to give up the ghost...they don't want to give up their peel no matter what. Another method Bridget had heard of was to slit the chestnuts either on one side or all the way around and then almost blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes, and then roast them.

Their listener was steaming them in his rice steamer for 20 minutes and then roasting them in the oven, with great results. The flesh wasn't becoming mealy (over-cooked), but you “get the crackliness” from the oven. The test kitchen noted that “It's definitely worth doing yourself, because the pre-peeled chestnuts are awful” and moldly tasting.

Never tried it, but I took good notes because I have a recipe that uses them :) Hope it helps!

Aug 08, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Home Cooking

Foolproof way to remove hazelnut skins

I LOVE this method!!!!!!!! This works!!!!! Peeling hazelnuts was the MOST annoying kitchen task I can think of, mostly because it never worked! I don't like hazelnuts much anyways, but they were in a few dessert recipes I wanted to try, and a truffle recipe from Cook's Illustrated that my husband loves. I tried this method for the first time a few days ago, and for the first time ever, I was actually able to get the skins off :) YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aug 08, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Home Cooking

Best coffee cake recipe, please!

For a traditional soft, buttery, cinnamony coffee cake, I highly recommend the Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel from Cook's Illustrated. Maybe not the most simple coffeecake recipe, but well worth it. I made this coffeecake yesterday and it was fabulous! Baked in a tube pan, it is soft, delicious, buttery, yellow, fluffy but not too fluffy, with a cinnamony swirl inside, and TONS of good sugary cinnamony pecan streusel topping.

For three less traditional recipes, the Pecan Sour Cream Coffee Cake from Cook's Country is also very good. It has toasted tiny pecan pieces inside, so the cake part is delicious with that special nutty flavor and a tighter crumb. It's just topped with a simple glaze, which I found less exciting than more mounds of sugar, so next time I'm gonna make less batter and top it with another streusel I loved from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking where the cake part was too wheaty but the streusel was heavenly.

The Coffee Cake Muffins from Cook's Country are also delicious, moist, cinnamony; with streusel inside and plenty on top, they are awesome.

And finally, the Apple Streusel Coffee Cake from The Mixer Bible (cookbook), baked in a bundt pan with no topping, is moist and sweet and special with Granny Smith Apples.

Aug 08, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Home Cooking

What happened to Niman Ranch bacon?

If it helps, I've seen their canadian bacon this week at my local Sprouts stores in San Diego.

Aug 08, 2015
sunnyskies12 in General Topics

Thoughts on King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook?

I loved the cheese powder in and on the Cheese Crackers recipe from this cookbook, but I had the same problem - what to do with the rest of it! I made the and we really liked it. It uses 1/2 cup Vermont cheese powder, along with fresh tomatoes, jalapenos, and corn, so if that sounds like a recipe you'd like, it's the perfect season for it. LOL, just realized that your comment is from 2007, so yes I'm assuming the cheese powder is long gone ;)

Jul 31, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Home Cooking

Thoughts on King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook?

Yes, that is one of my favorite recipes (mostly the frosting I suspect) - lol. I just reduce down apple cider to make the boiled cider.

Jul 31, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Home Cooking

Thoughts on King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook?

I love that Banana Crunch Cake too :)

Jul 31, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Home Cooking

Is it possible to make a delicious pork chop?

Yes try Cook's Illustrated (same company as Cook's Country or America's Test Kitchen) - all three are good. They have VERY reliable recipes. Oops, just realized that I answered your original question, is it possible to make a delicious pork chop, but honestly I'm not sure if it's possible as quickly or as simply as you would prefer. The supermarket pork gets dried out easily (it's so lean nowadays) so brining does wonders for it - it's quick to whisk salt and sugar into water and then leave the pork in there for 30-60 minutes, then rinse and pat dry, but that's not exactly "simple." Braising also takes longer; they have some great braising recipes at Cook's Country. And the simple pan-fried pork chop recipes from their websites/magazines/cookbooks are delicious; you could skip the directions for the sauce that they usually follow it with (because they use the pan drippings to make the sauce). Today I made their Crunchy Baked Pork Chops, which are delicious. So many delicious pork chops I've eaten using their recipes, but yes they all do take a little more time. Mostly because supermarket pork is so lean now (because of what the customer wanted), it dries out easily and often has very little flavor, so the idea of just quickly searing it and having it taste good, I don't know if it's possible. However, I haven't read the other answers, so if someone knows a way, that's awesome!

Jul 28, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Home Cooking

Which Flour to Use for Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think that this has already been answered SUPER well, but I'll just add that All-purpose flour is best for:

Breads baked in a pan (or use bread flour)
Cinnamon rolls
Coffee cake
Muffins (can also use pastry flour for extra tender muffins)
Quick breads

Bread Flour is best for artisan breads and yeast breads (Bread, pizza dough, rolls, etc)

Pastry Flour is best for
Biscuits (sometimes I like all-purpose better, depends on my mood)
Muffins, extra tender
Tart pastry

And cake flour is best for cakes (again, sometimes all-purpose is nice, especially for cupcakes which you don't want to fall apart if you're sharing them).

And MORE info - LOL. Cook's Country did a great summary on this:

"Getting to Know: Flours
From Cook's Country | October/November 2014

In spite of its name, all-purpose flour isn’t the best choice for every task. Here is a primer on common flours and the best ways to use them.

All-Purpose Flour

All-purpose flour is a workhorse because its protein content (between 10 and 11.7 percent) is high enough to provide structure to sandwich breads yet low enough to produce a tender crumb in many cakes. We prefer unbleached flour: We’ve found that some bleached flours carry off-flavors. Our favorite all-purpose flours are made by King Arthur and Pillsbury.

Whole-Wheat Flour

Whole-wheat flour contains the entire wheat kernel, including the germ, which means that it’s higher in fiber, fat, and protein than all-purpose flour. Because the protein in the germ doesn’t form gluten, whole-wheat flour is often bolstered with all-purpose flour or bread flour in baking recipes. Whole-wheat flour is prone to rancidity; store it in a zipper-lock bag in the freezer.

Cake Flour

Cake flour creates a finer, more delicate crumb than all-purpose flour. While all-purpose flour is used to provide structure in many sheet and layer cakes, we like to use lower-protein (6 to 8 percent) cake flour for more delicate cakes like angel food and pound cakes. You can substitute 7/8 cup of all-purpose flour and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch for every cup of cake flour called for.

Pastry Flour

Primarily used by professional bakers, pastry flour is a soft wheat flour with a protein content between those of all-purpose flour and cake flour. It’s used for pastries like Danish and tarts and for butter-rich shortbread; it produces a fine crumb in baked goods. We’ve found that in most recipes, all-purpose or cake flour (used singularly or in combination) can approximate pastry flour’s effect.


This staple in dried pasta making comes from coarsely ground durum wheat, a hard winter wheat that is high in gluten. In addition to featuring in pasta, semolina is used to make bread, couscous, puddings, and Roman-style gnocchi. The test kitchen sometimes uses it in pizza making to keep pizza from sticking to the peel (it doesn’t char as easily as flour and will let the pizza release without sticking).

Rice Flour

Both brown and white rice flours are fairly high in protein (5 to 7 percent) for nonwheat flours and help provide structure in gluten-free baked goods. Be aware that the coarseness of the grind will affect its performance in recipes; coarse flours can impart grittiness to baked goods. While white rice flour will keep in your pantry, brown rice flour should be stored in the refrigerator.

Bread Flour

With a protein percentage of 12 to 14, bread flour is the highest-protein flour available. It’s aces at developing gluten, which in turn gives great structure and chew to rustic breads like ciabatta and our seven-grain Dakota Bread (see related content). We’ve also turned to bread flour in some of our pizza crusts; the gluten gives the crust elasticity and chew.

Nut Flours

While grinding nuts produces a fine powder akin to flour, it’s not a straight substitute for flour because nuts don’t contain the proteins that produce gluten, which gives structure to most baked goods. We often add nut flours to regular flour to flavor and tenderize cookies like madeleines. These flours are expensive and prone to rancidity, so make them last by storing them in the freezer.

Self-Rising Flour

Self-rising flour has leavener and salt already added. It has a protein content similar to that of cake flour and is often used in biscuits and quick breads. Don’t substitute self-rising flour for other flours in recipes. However, in recipes that call for self-rising flour, you can substitute cake flour and add your own leavener and salt (1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt for every cup of flour).

Buckwheat Flour

Don’t be fooled by its name: Gluten-free buckwheat isn’t related to wheat at all. It’s an herb, more closely related to rhubarb or sorrel than to wheat. Buckwheat flour is made by grinding its triangular seeds, which contribute a dark color and earthy flavor. With a protein content of 13 percent, it adds structure to buckwheat crêpes, soba noodles, and the Russian pancakes known as blini.

Instant Flour

Instant flour (Wondra is the most common brand) is finely ground, low-protein flour that is able to dissolve instantly (with very few lumps) in hot or cold liquids like sauces, gravies, and soups. This is due to pregelatinization, a process in which the flour is effectively precooked and then dried. Instant flour is also used as a coating for fried chicken or fish, as the tiny particles distribute evenly into thin crusts.

Chickpea Flour

Also known as besan, garbanzo flour, or gram flour, beany-tasting chickpea flour is made from ground raw or roasted chickpeas. It’s a common ingredient in Indian, Middle Eastern, and European cooking and is used to make unleavened crêpes called socca, as well as pakoras and pappadams. Because of its high protein content (20 percent), chickpea flour is often used in savory gluten-free baking."

Jul 20, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Home Cooking

The well equipped kitchen

I think that the most well-equipped kitchen is personalized to the cook. You get the best tools (that you can afford) that do the best job for your favorite types of recipes, and then build out from there depending on your budget and storage space. For me, I love to cook and bake and like to spend my "extras" money on kitchen stuff, so I have tons of kitchen stuff and wouldn't want to bore you with the long list :) I just believe that life feels a little more calm when you just keep around what you actually use - I'm a minimalist at heart - but I cook such a big variety of stuff so I do have a well-stocked kitchen that spills over into our closet!

Jul 15, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Cookware

How to brown cake edges?

In addition to a darker pan, a thicker pan will also brown more (a heavier more expensive pan). It sounds like you're already on the right track with the other advice though :) I get great browning my Williams-Sonoma goldtouch pans. I bought all of mine before they switched manufacturers but hopefully they're still made really well.

Jul 15, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Home Cooking

I Don't Like Cheese - Am I Alone?

You're not alone! But, I love cheese :)

Jul 15, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Cheese

The perfect handle

My hunch is that it's personal preference, since Cook's Illustrated seems to always comment on how the All-Clad handles are comfortable, but they aren't comfortable to you. I think you are doing the right thing already, just picking it up and seeing which handle feels better in your hand.

Jul 15, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Cookware

Offering alternative meals to children - yay or nay

I'm not a parent, but my parents didn't offer anything else. I think that it is totally up to you and what you're most comfortable with. Personally, my goal would be to develop my child's palate, and to do that I would limit snacking and would not offer anything besides what the family was having, and just require them to try 1 or 2 bites of everything. Natural hunger makes kids more likely to try new stuff or eat things that wouldn't be acceptable to them if they were always offered their standbys like white pasta. I also personally wouldn't worry if they occasionally didn't eat much, 'cause from what I've heard from all my friends with kids, that happens with all kids regardless of your food policy, and they just tend to catch up by eating more at the next meal. I'd also really try to make it as fun as possible by involving them in (small, manageable parts) of the grocery shopping and/or cooking (not if I'm exhausted that day, but to whatever extent it worked for me) and teach them as much about food as I could.

Jul 15, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Not About Food

HOT coffee maker recommendations, please....

What a thoughtful gift! Cook's Illustrated recommends the Technivorm Moccamaster 10-Cup Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe but it is $300! Their "best buy" recommendation is the Bonavita 8-Cup Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe for $150. I don't know what your budget is for what you consider reasonably priced, but I thought I'd throw that out there just in case it helps. They test things like maintaining water temperature at the correct temp, which is actually hard for most machines to do. What sounds like an easy request from your parents is not necessarily so easy :)

The $300 machine is good for this reason: "Certified by the SCAA, the updated version of our old favorite (the KBT 741, now also $299) meets time and temperature guidelines with utter consistency. As a result, it produces a “smooth,” “velvety” brew. It’s also intuitive to use. The carafe lost some heat after 2 hours but still kept the coffee above 150 degrees."

For the $150 version, they have to put the lid on the carafe themselves every time to keep the coffee hot: "Simple to use and SCAA-certified, this brewer spends most of the cycle in the ideal temperature range. Its coffee had “bright,” “full” flavor that was a bit more “acidic” than the Technivorm’s. The widemouthed carafe is easy to clean, but there’s no brew-through lid; you must remove the brew basket and screw on a separate lid to keep coffee hot."

Good luck!

Jul 15, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Cookware

Non-ketchup meatloaf recipes needed

I also just thought of the Ham and Pork Loaf with Apricot Glaze from The Mixer Bible (I have the 1st edition; I'm not sure if it's in their 2nd/3rd editions). It uses 1 pound Boneless pork shoulder blade, 1 pound Smoked ham, 2 tablespoons Butter, 1 cup Finely chopped onion, 3/4 cup Finely chopped red bell pepper, 2 Eggs, 1 cup Finely crushed saltine crackers, 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 1/2 cup Apricot jam, 1/4 cup Lightly packed light brown sugar, and 1/2 cup Milk. I've made it three times and my husband and I love it. Obviously not a traditional beef meatloaf with the pork and ham, but if it sounds interesting to you, you could check out the cookbook. Good luck!

Jul 15, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Home Cooking

Non-ketchup meatloaf recipes needed

The Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy from Cook's Country (October/November 2013) is really flavorful, and no ketchup in sight :)

If you're interested:

"Serves 6 to 8

If you’re short the 2 tablespoons of meatloaf drippings needed to make the gravy, supplement them with melted butter or vegetable oil.

1 cup water
1/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
16 square or 18 round saltines
10 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
Salt and pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground pork
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon plus 3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Microwave water and porcini mushrooms in covered bowl until steaming, about 1 minute. Let sit until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove porcini from bowl with fork and mince. Strain porcini liquid through fine-mesh strainer lined with coffee filter; reserve ¾ cup.

2. Process saltines in food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds; transfer to large bowl. Pulse half of white mushrooms in processor until finely ground, 8 to 10 pulses.

3. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick ovensafe skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add processed white mushrooms and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until liquid evaporates and mushrooms begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl with saltines and let cool completely, about 15 minutes.

4. Add pork, eggs, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire, 1 teaspoon salt, ¾ teaspoon pepper, and ¼ cup reserved porcini liquid to cooled white mushroom– saltine mixture and knead gently until mostly combined. Add beef and knead until well combined. Transfer meat mixture to now-empty skillet and shape into 10 by 6-inch loaf. Bake until meatloaf registers 160 degrees, 45 to 55 minutes. Transfer meatloaf to carving board using spatula and tent loosely with aluminum foil.

5. Thinly slice remaining white mushrooms. Discard any solids in skillet and pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat. Heat fat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add sliced white mushrooms and minced porcini mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in thyme and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in broth, remaining ½ cup reserved porcini liquid, and remaining ¾ teaspoon Worcestershire, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Slice meatloaf and serve with mushroom gravy."

Jul 15, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Home Cooking

bad manners to accept preferred treatment

I agree with Andymal; it isn't bad manners to accept preferred treatment, just to expect it :)

Jul 15, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Not About Food

How do you discover cookbooks?

I am focused on cooking all of the recipes in my current cookbooks, so I don't look for new ones, but has a blog where they're always highlighting new cookbooks and talking about them. They're also really nice if you have a ton of cookbooks and you want a search engine that can tell you which recipes you have in your cookbook collection for "peach pie" or recipes that use "Grand Marnier" or whatever. I just have their free subscription for up to 5 cookbooks or magazines, but they have a TON of cookbooks indexed. Okay that was definitely a tangent, but I thought maybe you'd be interested :)

Jul 15, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Home Cooking

Are Cointreau and Triple SEc Interchangeable?

Scottes, the actual Cook's Illustrated article was of course more specific; the winner of their orange liqueur taste test was the Leroux triple sec, and they were "surprised" because it was much cheaper than Grand Marnier (they didn't say how it did) or Cointreau (which came in last, as JK said). The two recipes that they tested the orange liqueurs in were Crepes Suzette and margaritas.

Jul 15, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Spirits

Lost in the world of pork chops - center vs top loin vs "center cut" top loin?

The Center Cut Chop was the old name; the new name is Porterhouse. Some alternative names you might see less often are Pork Loin Chop Bone-In, Center Loin Chop, Pork Loin End Chop, or Pork Loin Loin Chop.

Here's some info I found about them online (don't recall the source): Porterhouse chops cut toward the center of the loin will have a T-shaped bone that has loin on one side and tenderloin on the other. Sometimes the more tenderloin present, the higher the cost. The tenderloin runs in a tapered thinnish line underneath the back half of the loin. For those who are not familiar with the tenderloin or why it earns such a lofty reputation, consider this: it is the softest, easiest to chew and commonly the most flavorful part of the meat. Perhaps you have a taste for filet mignon beef steaks? Well, the pork tenderloin is pork’s equivalent!

Cooks Country says: "These chops can be identified by the bone that divides the loin meat from the tenderloin muscle. The lean tenderloin section cooks more quickly than the loin section, making these chops a challenge to cook. They have good flavor, but since they contain less fat than the rib chops, they are not quite as moist. Grill or sauté."

Cooks Illustrated says: “Because the loin and tenderloin muscles in these chops are bisected by bulky bone or cartilage, they don’t lie flat and thus make a poor choice for pan-searing. Save them for the grill, but position the ultra-lean tenderloin away from the fire to keep it from drying out."

A very very similar chop that you'll find used to be called the Top Loin Chop and is now called the New York Chop. Alternative names for it were the Center Cut Chop Boneless or Pork Loin Fillet. They are just like the Porterhouse but with two major changes: Top loin chops will have no tenderloin and are boneless.

You might see a Top Loin Roast (New York Pork Roast); to make a boneless roast, the butcher puts two top loins together and ties them up, fat sides out.

Hope that helps; I'm figuring it all out myself and it's pretty confusing!!!

Jul 11, 2015
sunnyskies12 in General Topics

Too much sugar in dessert recipes

Ooh, just had another thought - many other countries like their desserts less sweet, and if there are any international desserts that you've liked in the past, that might be a good place to explore, via cookbooks or online recipes! I know that the French cook with a lot less sugar, and I've noticed that most international desserts aren't sweet enough for me when we're traveling :)

Jul 01, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Home Cooking

Too much sugar in dessert recipes

Toopie, I've never had this problem because I LOVE sugar! But I do recall Cook's Illustrated saying that sugar helps with many things including browning, so I think that for anything that needs to rise (cakes, cookies), you're best off with recipes that were already made with less sugar. I love the other comments that suggest getting a cookbook just for this purpose. You're definitely not the only one who likes desserts less sweet than the average recipe! I think that the only easy recipes to adjust sugar in are ones without much science like the fruit part of a cobbler, crisp, buckle. Best of luck!

Jul 01, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Home Cooking

Does anyone actually like Sandra Lee?

This is a fun question for readers! I personally have the opposite cooking style of Sandra's because I prefer to make everything from scratch, so I occasionally find her shows mildly entertaining but not educational to my craft. However, I respect her as a person, because her style is perfect for people who want to cook something but probably won't cook as often or at all without easier recipes. I do not share the vitriol that some cooks have for her, and I think she fills a niche that is very appreciated by thousands of people. If I didn't have time to cook and worked 1-2 jobs with kids, this might be a necessity. So while I feel lucky that I have time to cook, I don't look down on those who don't. Also, this is my hobby, and I respect that some people have different hobbies and want to spend their free time doing something else.

Cook's Illustrated baklava

I've made the CI recipe three times now, my husband loves it, I really like it too. I've never made baklava before that, nor eaten it much, so I didn't have anything to compare it to. But it's delicious!!!

May 01, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Home Cooking

First time poster looking for advice on four cheese lasagna recipe. Hello all!

I'm not sure about the freezing/making ahead, but just vouching that this recipe is GREAT!!!

Apr 20, 2015
sunnyskies12 in Home Cooking

Amazing Pie Recipe calls for uncooked eggs, how safe is this?

If the yolks get to 160 then they are safe; however, because the whites aren't cooked, you are potentially exposing yourself to salmonella. I posted a ton of information about pasteurized (safe) eggs above, if you're interested :)

Apr 17, 2015
sunnyskies12 in General Topics